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eCommerce: The Ultimate Guide to a Successful Strategy
  • Contest Factory
  • September 28, 2021

Setting up your eCommerce can be overwhelming at times if you do not have experience with the many modern software options available today. From lead scoring to funnel pushers and contact management systems, it all can be a bit stressful. Let us help you start with the basics and build from there.

eCommerce Platform

First and foremost you want to be sure your eCommerce platform is solid and capable of handling everything you need; this means ensuring your platform can serve as many people as possible.  Therefore you want to be sure to accept as many payments as possible by using payment processors that support both Google, Apple, and Amazon pay.  Stripe and Authorize.net are well known to support all three of these payment methods. In addition you will want to accept PayPal as it’s the oldest of the walletless shopping options with a wide adoptions across age groups.

After that, you want to be sure your platform is secure with SSL protection, meaning you encrypt your credit card data. Your hosting provider will be the issuing agency here to ensure you show the lock symbol anytime secure data is being passed.

Next step is ensuring you can support cross-sells and upsells. Most eCommerce platforms have this functionality and you can set these at the SKU level or category level. The more detailed you merchandise your catalog online, the more successful your sales opportunity will be. For example if you are selling a knives, you may also want to offer a butcher block.  If you are selling cosmetics, you will want to offer complimentary product to the product being added to the basket.  Amazon is famous for using the phrase, “Other people also purchased this with this product.”

Related: Product Marketing Launch Checklist 

eMail Marketing

You will also want to collect email addresses on your website for your newsletter. Once you capture the email address, you get to market to these folks over and over. You may find continual browsers and offer a coupon to close the sale.  Or you may survey your continual browsers to find out why they are not purchasing – there may be a  reason and you can improve products with this information.

Once you obtain email addresses, you will want to create weekly email campaigns with excellent copywriting.  You will also want to set up your drip campaign with a welcome sequence encouraging a first purchase. You will also want to set up an abandoned cart message reminding the shopper there is limited inventory going fast and you will hold this product for 24-hours for the shopper and after that it’s all fair play with dwindling inventory. Another campaign is your browse abandonment – Wayfair does an amazing job at sending emails full of the category you were browsing and letting you know this category in now on SALE. And finally, your last campaign is very important as getting a second purchase doubles your lifetime value and triples your chances of this being a long-term customer with 3+ purchases; this campaign has to be highly convincing – coupons and limited time offers on complimentary products to the first purchase are a great strategy here.

SMS Marketing

SMS messaging has really aided in increased order value. Sending a text message within 30 minutes of receiving an order asking for an additional purchase by offering a free gift can induce your average order value to climb generously. You may consider working with manufactures to create branded SMS free gift campaigns to give their brand more exposure with your store – often you will get complimentary items at no charge and reap the rewards of the higher order value with no additional cost to your bottom line. Win Win!

Product Reviews

Reviews are another stellar way to increase sales on your website – once you have clients that have placed an order and received delivery you will want to ask for a review; using google reviews will help you with natural search rankings as well. Reviews are widely consulted word-of-mouth marketing online that consistently show increase in sales when displayed on product pages as well as marketing materials.

Using a free plugin called Hotjar will also provide feedback and enable you to ensure you are providing the products and services your customers want, need, and like. Oftentimes this tool will be your window to unexpected errors you do not see.  For example a chatbox that covers your buy now button will be called out immediately by customers and you can fix it.

Chat Boxes & Chat Bots

Speaking of chat – this is one of the greatest sales enablers to date. Folks love how fast it is to chat and find out quick information on a product to ensure its exactly what they need.  And today there’s also chatbots where you can program basic information, like what are your hours, what is your return policy, do you have a product spec sheet, do you offer free delivery, and many more service related questions that can be answered without necessitating a customer service agent.

Available Inventory Notices

Sharing inventory availability as limited with only 2 left is also a great inducement for your top sellers. This can be set so it always looks to be limited and often encourages a conversion.  You can also set out of stock email alerts for when it is back in stock and ensure someone that really wants this item knows when it is back in stock.

Pay Over Time

Offering an option to pay over time has been the new way of teaching financial responsibility to a new group of shoppers. Payment options like Afterpay, Sezzle, or Affirm.  These are often 4 payments over 6-weeks. The consumer pays no interest but the eCommerce provider covers this fee in an increased processing fee. This fee is often well covered with an increase in average order value and conversion rate.

Advertising

Finding new customers is always paramount and starts with advertising. You’ll want to advertise on the best platforms available. Time and again we come back to Facebook and Google Ads. Facebook enables you to focus on interest marketing based on what people do on the platform. Google ads are focused on people in market and searching for like product and service, therefore your conversion opportunity is already greater with the shopper searching for your service. Both of these platforms also support shopping catalogs enabling you to easily display everything you offer via a data feed. If you are a novice in either of these categories, you will want to reach out to professionals like Contest Factory for support.

When advertising you will want to be sure you know how to track your ads to determine which ad spend and campaign is converting. Each platform will have its own reporting, but you will also want to use UTM tracking to see exactly the creative, term, platform, etc that is performing best.

Loyalty Programs for Retention & Word of Mouth Marketing

And before you launch into this world, you will also want to consider your customer retention by implementing a loyalty program. You will find ways to reward loyal customers with points redeemable for products. This can include helping you advertising by sharing on social media.

Measurement & Analytics for Optimization

Lastly be sure everything you do is measurable.  This means all marketing software has solid analytics as well as implement Google Analytics on your website. You can set goals for customers adding to basket which is called a micro-conversion as well as hard conversions with the thank you page showing a successful order.

These are the foundational elements you will want to ensure you have a firm grasp on before launching your eCommerce website.

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